So the election is today. For those of you in America who wonder, it is big news here. Top story, mostly, on all the news every day for a couple days now. Two of the national channels here will go live sometime after midnight, one (the national channel I guess equivelant to PBS but they also show Sopranos and Third Watch and movies and stuff so more comparable to the BBC.) will have all their own reporters and the other channel is going live with a combination of their reporters and a feed from CBS. I really can’t make a prediction. I voted for Kerry, not because he is my favorite choice but mostly because he has the best shot of getting rid of Bush.
Whatever you say about left and right, whatever your opinion is, I can’t figure out what exactly people see in Bush. Seriously. Not only do I think he is a bad president, I think he is a bad Republican president. I never thought I would see the day when I looked back nostalgically at Bush I or even Reagan, but here we are. At least with Reagan, with whom I had some major disagreements, it seemed as though he came at his position from a learned, well read perspective. He, at least before he the end when he was showing some clear signs of his coming alzheimers, appeared knowledgeable and honest about his position and I can respect that. Junior, however, doesn’t seem, to me at least, to have any other sources for his beliefs than whatever Cheney and Rove tell him and his “gut” (whatever that means.) People say he is likeable. I just can’t see it. Even if he says something I agree with, he still doesn’t seem like he arrived at his conclusion by evaluating the facts and logically coming to a conclusion. At the least, Kerry seems intelligent and thoughtful.
But lets get back to what I said about being a bad Republican president. Sure he has lowered taxes. But he has imposed more tarrifs than Clinton, added a massive amount of spending (i.e. aid to our poor, struggling drug companies) to medicare, increased education spending, takes the federalist approach to abortion and gay marriage, increased foreign aid, has spent like the stereotypical liberal (never once vetoing a spending bill), more new federal regulations than any other president, signed the campaign finance law, proposed legalizing illegal immigrants, the Patriot Act, has a Wilsonian foreign policy (activist internationalist). I could go on, but that should be enough to make one wonder what exactly a conservative sees in him.
And speaking of taxes, I have been thinking lately of the old idea that liberals are all about tax-and-spend. What I thought was, which is better: proposing new spending and coming up with a way to fund that spending; or proposing new spending and cutting the funding for that spending? At the least, democrats want to do the responsible thing and fund their programs with taxes, rather than borrow the money. It reminds me of something I read by James Carville, who said that if you personally were in debt, working three jobs to pay for your excess spending, what is the proper response to this? Do you quit one of your jobs and attempt to lower spending (but you only say you are going to cut spending and instead spend the same or even more) at the same time? Or do you do the prudent thing and cut your spending while leaving your jobs alone until you are in a position where you can afford to quit one of those jobs? Tax cuts with no decrease in spending is irresponsible. But somehow, Republicans are seen as better at running the economy (even though the economy has done better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones for most of the post WWII era).
So anyway, I voted for Kerry. More a strategic vote than a conscience vote. And even though I lean more liberal than conservative (I tend to call myself a left-libertarian) I can say that I never voted for Clinton (voted libertarian both times) even though I think he was a much better president than the current one.